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Thread: Which is the Harder Major: Nursing or Engineering?

  1. #1
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    Which is the Harder Major: Nursing or Engineering?

    Obviously asking on this site would be biased but I trust that engineers will look at the question objectively. I've had this debate a few times but usually ended it with something along the lines of "Both are difficult in their own ways." to basically avoid confrontation (the nursing majors get really defensive really fast). But now it's bothering me. So here are the arguments usually presented for pro-nursing:

    1.A Lot of/Harder Material
    2.Very Competitive
    3.Life/Death Situations
    4.More Socially Interactive

    1. This one is a harder one to decisively pick one or the other, because I am well aware to the ridiculous amount of vocab nursing majors need to memorize. But this is one people always argue first and honestly, engineers have to memorize a lot too. Not as much as nursing majors, but where we lack in number of terms we make up in application and comprehension. I mean, as far as difficult material goes, I think nursing majors need at most Calc 1. I feel like our material is a lot more difficult. So I give this one to engineers.

    2. Ok, I will give nursing the fact that it is more competitive than engineering, but I want to interject that it is solely a result based on numbers of applicants. If you had a whole bunch of people that wanted to major in basket weaving, that would be a competitive major too. (Not comparing nursing to basket weaving, just making a point). Nurses get this one.

    3. Engineering also has life and death situations and where nursing often has more time conscious urgency, engineering often has more lives at stake. I would say that engineering and nursing are equal in this argument.

    4. I don't really view this as a real point of argument because it's almost irrelevant when it comes to the specific time period of getting your major, but one girl mentioned it so I thought I might as well include it. I guess I would say this argument is equal(because engineers have to work with people too) but leaning toward nursing. This is because people can be very hard to deal with and a nursing major would encounter more people in the jobs they have to get as requirement for their major.

    There is no doubt in my mind that nursing is very stressful. There are way more hours and it's an intense field. The question is, does the fact that a field is stressful make it hard? I mean, just in terms of getting your major, it's a lot of work for engineering as well. The real life work may not generally be as intense, but in college it's very stressful. There's a lot of work.

    I'm purposefully not including working with sick people vs not working with sick people because I think that's just a difference in the majors, but if you think it's relevant to the argument, go for it.

    (*Please don't use the argument that it's "different for each person". That's such a cop-out. You could say that for literally every major*)

  2. #2
    Technical Fellow jboggs's Avatar
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    Frankly the whole topic seems like a pointless waste of time to me (like most dorm room conversations of which I was an avid participant), unless someone is trying to get some "I got the hardest degree" award. What you aren't considering is natural talents. I got a BSME. Yes it was hard, but I think it was harder for many of those that ended up dropping out. Then later I thought I wanted an MBA. My first accounting course convinced me otherwise. I've learned over the years that one reason I do not want a higher management position is that my eyes glaze over in a disinterested haze when the discussion starts focusing on just numbers. Mind numbing. I'm just glad there are people who LOVE that stuff. And I know from personal experience that they have as much interest in what I do as my interest in their work. Oh, and I'm confident that my interest level in nursing would have been about like it was in accounting - which would have made nursing A LOT HARDER for me!

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    Lead Engineer RWOLFEJR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jboggs View Post
    Frankly the whole topic seems like a pointless waste of time to me (like most dorm room conversations of which I was an avid participant), unless someone is trying to get some "I got the hardest degree" award. What you aren't considering is natural talents. I got a BSME. Yes it was hard, but I think it was harder for many of those that ended up dropping out. Then later I thought I wanted an MBA. My first accounting course convinced me otherwise. I've learned over the years that one reason I do not want a higher management position is that my eyes glaze over in a disinterested haze when the discussion starts focusing on just numbers. Mind numbing. I'm just glad there are people who LOVE that stuff. And I know from personal experience that they have as much interest in what I do as my interest in their work. Oh, and I'm confident that my interest level in nursing would have been about like it was in accounting - which would have made nursing A LOT HARDER for me!
    Couldn't have answered that any better...

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    Lead Engineer RWOLFEJR's Avatar
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    Oh and welcome to the forum megoetts...

    Nothing personal about your debate... just agree that it's all about how a person's bent... What they're into.


    Good luck,
    Bob

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    No, you guys are definitely right. Honestly the reason it irked me was because my coach at my university has said multiple times that "well it's not like you're a nursing major" or "if a nursing major can do it, you shouldn't be having any problems", as a way to shrug off any problems myself or non-nursing major teammates are having in school or something. He's kind of jerk, I guess I was just letting it get to me.

    But thank you! This was probably a better answer than any others would have been haha

    megoetts

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    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jboggs View Post
    Frankly the whole topic seems like a pointless waste of time to me
    X2

  7. #7
    They both are challenging. Assuming you are considering both career paths. Nursing requires a much different skill set and level of human interaction than engineering. Do you really want to be around all those people helping them on a person to person basis? Or would you rather deal with technical mathematics and designing building and things like that and less person to person interaction? There is such a significnat difference between the two professions.

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    They both are challenging career paths. Nursing requires a much different skill set and level of human interaction. Engineering deal with technical mathematics and designing building and things like that and less person to person interaction.Nothing is harder if u really interested.

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    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    There are three nurses in my family - my sister, sister in-law and niece. I think the education one received to become a nurse is challenging however not on par with engineering.

    Be aware that one can earn the right to take the nurse certification test with a two-year degree.
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

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    Engineering will give you a good base salary even if you just pleb around at work all day. Another good point is it gives you a good base to move on in the future. If you want to move into management side also you can move.

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    Cool My input

    Thank you for asking this question. I pondered on going the engineering route after nursing. NOT because i'm not happy with nursing but because i've always had this intrinsic desire to be an engineer that doesn't seem to fade. If you're asking yourself why didn't i just go the engineering route the answer is simple: money and security. Nursing's a field that's pretty much in demand anywhere and everywhere. They also allow for higher education which can make a 60-70k salary as an RN with a bachelors become a 150k salary with a masters/doctorate.

    Seeing how it is a website geared towards engineers i can see how things can be a little... bias. But unless you've endured the struggle of becoming a nurse you cannot begin to understand. I've MET engineers who have gone through my nursing program and completely fail out. The reason why it's so hard IS because of the context and because nursing schools are quick to kick you out if you fail ONE class. They do this because students who fail a class are more likely to fail the nclex (state licensure exam) and therefore decrease their passing rates for that year.

    Less passing rates on the nclex exams means less chances of the school being accredited that year. So, you can see why they stress it.


    I will address each point in hopes of further shedding light to this subject.

    A lot of/Harder Material

    Although I am a nursing major I have taken numerous science courses in college. At some point I even tutored a&p, biochem, microbio and gen chem I & II. What most of the science courses require is pure memorization. In nursing memorization only gets you so far. Although it is important to know the pathophysiology of diseases as well as their signs and symptoms itís even more important to know how to use this knowledge in relation to your patient!

    So for example, if your patient is in an acute respiratory distress- what would you as a ďnurseĒ do first?


    1. Call the physian and alert him of the sudden change,
    2. Take the vitals,
    3. Raise the head of the bed, or
    4. Give him oxygen


    **answer** The textbook teaches you in lengthy detail how theyíre all appropriate actions! But itís not about having the right answer its about having the BEST answer. So no, calling the doctor isnít the first thing you would do. Raising the head of the bed is because it relaxes the diaphragm and allows your lungs to fully contract more. Giving him oxygen may be next step, taking his vitals (o2 sat) may be the following step and the LAST step may be calling the doctor if the patientís condition does not improve. So when you take an exam you HAVE to CRITICALLY Think to get the right answer. Which is why a lot of people fail out of nursing programs. This mode of thinking is hard especially when youíre taught to think in a linear fashion. So, for engineers 2+2 will ALWAYS equal 4. But in nursing 2+2 might equal 5Ömaybeee (depending on the situation).

    So yeah, what Iím basically trying to say is that nursing does require a lot.. A LOT of memorization but it also requires A LOT of active thinking.

    Nursing is very competitive. Your analogy to basket weaves made me cringe to be frank. A lot of people donít want to become nurses. In fact, Iíve met MORE people who want to become engineers than nurses. This may be due to the negative stigma still associated with nursing. The reason why itís competitive is because most programs only have a limited number of seats available for people who want to pursue nursing. Iím guessing its because of legal implications the school faces if accidents happen in the hospital. Because yes! Nursing students do go to school and on top of their busy school schedules also go to the hospital to do their clinicals- which can range from 10 to 20 hrs a week. And no you donít get paid for them either :/ So alllll of this makes nursing competitive and hard. In my school you have to have a 3.5 SCIENCE gpa to be considered for the program. I got in with a 3.9. So yes itís insanely competitive.

    Life and death situations are what make nursing schools ďhard.Ē Hospitals pretty much hate being sued. Since nurses and physicians are in the forefront of health care, it is important that schools train competent health providers. So no, when it comes to this subject nurses are not equal to engineers. Engineers have rigorous protocols that ensure the item is safe before being released to the general public. Accidents may or may not happen in the long run. However, nurses deal with constant life and death scenarios on a daily basis. Things in a patient's condition can change in seconds. How you could say theyíre equal on this just proves the bias you have against nursing.

    More socially interactive- can be applied to both fields.

    My point in writing all of this is not to say one major is easier or harder than the other. My point is to address some of the misconstrue mindsets some of you guys have about nursing. This field is hard and this is coming from someone whoís been an A student for most of his life. Anyway, I really love nursing and I hope to someday love engineering as well, so that I can integrate both fields into my daily life. I feel like there's a large market waiting to be uncovered with patient safety and better technology!
    Last edited by Nursing2020; 03-11-2016 at 03:43 AM.

  12. #12
    Lead Engineer Cake of Doom's Avatar
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    To make a direct comparison for nursing to engineering is a false dichotomy I believe. Anyone that starts a "my degree in x subject is way harder than your degree in y subject" is usually trying to justify something to themselves. I used to hear this a lot with Psych students because they had it in their heads that it's not real science. Probably because that was the general consensus at the time but either way, they had a massive bee in their bonnet about it.

    If a coach is using in that sort of context, I think he's(?) trying to call you a big girl because there is no such thing as a male nurse. It's not like male nursing as a profession has been a thing since ~250 B.C.E. or anything

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    Engineering school is harder, but nursing is the more demanding JOB.

    (Lots of nurses go out with back injuries, and you're always at risk of catching something)
    Last edited by morrisonandboyd; 03-11-2016 at 04:41 PM.

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